Life is interesting. It’s my guru. I’m grateful for the teachings and its wisdom, even though it can be confusing at times.
Heartbreak has been piled onto me over the past decade, but really, most of my life.
I just attended my sixth funeral since June 2015 over this past weekend. It has amplified the pile of heartbreak of mine.
I totally get that my heartache and heartbreak is nothing new. Mine isn’t more special or difficult than anyone else’s.
If you are alive on the planet for more than a few minutes, you will have pain.
Intellectually, I know the suffering part is optional too.
I tried to analyze it all. I have done things such as write in my journal, just trying to process and make sense of it all. I have done the prayers, affirmations, meditations, visualizations, forgiveness work, energy work, and self-care.
I began this work more than three decades ago, when I was close to 11 years old, sitting on the floor of the library reading self-help books in the early 1980s to make sense of my life and my parents’ marital issues.
I even wrote a self-help book for women.
So, I get it.
I get that you gotta learn things and move on, let go, and forgive and forget. I could write any number of cliches here that you have heard or seen.
As I sit here in the middle of February, in winter in Detroit, I feel spring trying to rise like a phoenix.
Spring is a time for new beginnings. I’ve waited a long time for a new beginning. I’ve not felt very phoenix-like. I’m more like the liquified caterpillar trying so hard to be a butterfly.
I feel spring is trying to come. There’s a different quality to the air. The birds are starting to come home from the south areas. Animals are more active. There’s more daylight.
I feel like I’m pummeled with all the heartbreak piled on top of me. I feel dragged down. I feel a bit sad, mixed with some anxiousness now and then. I also get feelings of being stuck or not sure what to do next.
I do my best to not numb out. I don’t do the typical behaviors to cope. I simply sit with them, allowing myself to feel the pain, sadness, grief, and yes, even anger.
I grew up with the idea that it was wrong to be angry. I also was told to “stop it” when I would cry as a way to process my anger, sadness, or hurts. I held some things in, but would give them expression writing poetry, songs, or doing some artwork. I also had an outlet of writing in my journal since I was very young, as well as long distance running.
Fast forward to today, I’m using some of the same methods to process grief, anger, and anxiousness. This stuff works. I’m grateful. Thank you, life.
But…The thing I keep wondering is why. I wonder why I had to go through so many things, lose so much, and have so many failures with my career and friendships. At the same time, I am amazed at how blessed I am because I have been with the same guy since we were 21 years old. I have cute, sweet squirrels and birds who visit me daily. I do have some musical ability. I’m a published author. My best friend is someone I’ve been friends with since age 14, so for 30 years! I have some very close friendships with people I talk to regularly. I’m successful in some other ways too, such as having no debts other than my mortgage. I also am the same healthy weight I was in 8th grade, returning there in the past two years with slow, steady process and healing of my hormones and eating less and moving more. I’m brave. I financed my own college education. I also had successful careers as a legal assistant, massage therapist, energy worker, intuitive consultant, coach, and author.
Yet, the heartbreak is piled up. I’ve had to give up some things. I have blamed myself for not trying hard enough, but the truth is, I tried very hard. I even made myself ill from working so hard and well, the emotional management has been too much to bear.
When I answer my own question of why I had to go through so much, I get some basic answers such as “I had to learn compassion for myself and others” or “I’m human and this is part of the curriculum.” I wonder though if there’s more…I’m letting life reveal its answers, instead of pushing so hard to find out.
As a somewhat Buddhist spiritual practitioner, I look at cause and effect (also known as karma). I know that in the past, in this lifetime and others, I’ve created loss, grief, and pain for others. I’ve done my best to be kind and loving, to create better causes or a better future for myself.
Am I perfect? Nope. But, I’m trying to do my best. I’m a bit like that main character in My Name is Earl (television show), but a bit prettier and well, no criminal record, hahaha! I don’t expect to receive anything in return for being kind, however. I just feel it feels better to be nice and kind to others. I don’t like having to live with the thoughts and feelings that I might have hurt someone.
During my own healing process, I’ve looked at the places where I loved and lost and was a failure or when things disappointed me. I see a bit of blessings in them on an intellectual level. I know that some things weren’t the best path for me. I also could see where others took advantage of me, even abusing or using me. I see where I tried to save others and it wasn’t my job. I see where others didn’t follow through on what they promised me. I suppose I’ve had several graduate level courses in disappointments. I qualify for a doctoral degree, right?
After my mom passed in June 2015, I decided to really do my best to live bravely. I felt so pummeled by everything. Yet, I felt like the mountain climber who has to reach the summit before the bad weather comes in, fiercely hellbent with no limitations. Then, boom, after it is all done, you crash at home in bed for a while.
Two months after my mom passed, I was getting an epic amount of dental work done, as in two root canals, two fillings, and a new crown. This month, February 2015, I still need a new filling and a new crown in addition to that. During the same month of my dental work, I was like, okay, bring it! So, I had a baseline colonoscopy at age 43. My mom and grandma both had colon cancer and well, bring on the even healthier diet for me. I have always eaten mostly plant-based, but now, I’m epic healthy. Oh yeah, did I mention I had anemia on top of chronic fatigue syndrome and adrenal fatigue? My weeks were all about going to funerals, getting stuff in order, as well as navigating family stuff.
When my mom passed, I was just coming out of the situational depression about my book journey. Boom, not so fast, I guess, regarding feeling good.
I took it upon myself to continue a path of healing and self-care. I began a daily yoga practice that still continues on, even with flu and colds, since September 1, 2015. I also did a self-guided 100 days of guitar which ended with me doing my very first open mic as a singer and guitarist in October 2015, which was only 4 months after my mom passed. At the end of 2015, I decided to close my business. I still have to forward my old websites over here to this new blog, but I’m doing my best to get things “done.”
It is time to forge a new path.
So, I’m a brave, grown ass woman, you know?
I had some folks leave my life over the past four or five years. It has hurt quite a bit. I guess the modern way of ending a friendship is to unfriend a person on Facebook? Hmm.
During my very brave, bring-it-on phase the first few months after my mom passed, I said “yes” to everything and everyone. I wanted to live full out. I was still so exhausted and then, one day, it all came crashing down. My body said, “No more, sister! You gotta rest!” I sat with the doctor then and she said my iron levels were a few points higher than the lowest you can be and I was borderline needing iron infusions. Ugh.
As I sit here though, I’m navigating out of the cold and darkness. I’m writing very bad, dark poetry most days as a therapeutic way to handle my big ass pile of heartbreak. I’m about to get some counseling starting next month. This week, I’m switching to weekly nutrient intravenous infusions (drips into my blood of vitamins that take an hour and a half), instead of monthly. I’m still showing up most days, getting up at 7am or 8am. I do yoga daily. I play guitar, even if I only can muster scales. I’m making smoothies and salads for meals. I’m taking my vitamins. I’m writing in my journals, meditating, singing, and writing song lyrics. I’m doing a bit of coloring and hope to return to making art soon. I’m resting. I’m recovering. I’m not taking to heart the hurts some have done to me, such as family who won’t talk to me or who blame me for some things.
It’s really brave and it IS epic to do these simple things each day.
But, you see, I really never thought my life would turn out this way. I guess this is what you get to look at during your 40s. You see where your life was supposed to be different.
Some women I’ve encountered online or in groups have shamed me, saying things that are quite mean and not supportive in the tune of, “Oh, you’re a kept woman.” It’s disappointing to me as a woman when other women are catty or not supportive, projecting their crap onto me. I mean, when you get married, your partner and you are a team. There’s no such thing as “my money” or “your money,” it’s all jointly held. You make decisions as a team.
As a person who doesn’t have kids or a job outside the house, I know it comes across as strange, not to be living up to society’s norms or expected roles for a woman. I have stopped caring about what others think of me and my choices. It’s totally okay for me to be a homemaker, musician, writer, and artist.
Who says I have to “earn my keep”? I don’t really feel like blogging about the ways in which I give back to the world. I just do it. I don’t need to brag or prove that I’m doing “work.” I’m a woman and all women work, just sayin.’
The pile of heartbreak has been getting less heavy. I notice that decluttering physical things from my home really helps. I figure I lived in Europe for a few months with only a suitcase and a backpack and I was very happy. I missed my music equipment, but I want to be a step above minimalist.
I’m very strange, I know, because I’m happier owning less and having experiences more than acquiring things. I see large McMansions and can’t help but to think of how high the heating bills must be or how long it will take to pay those mortgages off. I know everyone makes their own choices, but I prefer things to be simple. I like to travel and go to concerts, meals out, and help animals. I don’t need a big house or anything fancy. Nope.
The heartbreak has lessened too as I’ve let go of hurtful people and deleted their messages in my emails and social media. I have had a few people write me to tell me to “get over it,” when it comes to my grief and losses. I really was astounded. Instead of calling them out, I just took their words to heart. What a big mistake! I think that in the coming months and years, you will read about me speaking up way more to people. I think that is one thing I haven’t done much is to set boundaries with others. I like to and hope to do it lovingly, of course.
I know that my heart is a resilient thing. I know that I’m brave and always have been. I know that I can turn pain around into a gift for myself and others. I used to really want my pain to be for a purpose, even to help just one person.
These days, I want to have the ability to be more gentle with myself. I don’t need to make my life about lessons to help others. I can make it about relaxing and drinking tea or taking walks in nature. I don’t have to be a guru.
I can just be one with the wind, the trees, the sky, the sun, moon, stars, and little squirrels. That is enough. That can be my purpose too. My heart is my purpose, right?
(copyrighted 2016 by Lisa Selow)